MULTIPLE BIRTHS CANADA

Chapter Kit

What is a chapter and why do we need one? 

A chapter is a local group that has its own membership of parents of multiples (POMs). A chapter will run in-person events including playgroups, parent gatherings, clothing & gear sales as well as have its own social media, such as a member-only Facebook group. Every parent of multiples will tell you that the experience of parenting twins, triplets, quads or more presents many unique challenges. Most of us do not already know a large number of parents of multiples to draw support from when we bring home our babies. You may think you can do it alone or simply take advice from parents of singletons or draw your information from social media, but those that have come before you and been in your shoes know that it takes a village. In the case of POMs that village will be your local chapter. Each chapter is unique in that there is a sense of community that takes on the culture of the local area and the comradery among the members.

How does MBC help?

Multiple Births Canada (MBC) connects chapters across Canada, providing you with resources and contacts that eliminate the work of each chapter having to create their own resources and build on ideas that have already been implemented in other chapters. In addition, MBC hosts events, such as its annual conference and online webinars and provides up-to-date information about the multiples community to keep chapters relevant and growing. Belonging to a national charitable organization adds credibility to a local chapter and creates an international link with other multiple birth organizations around the world.

 

What do we need to get started?

If you are just getting started with a chapter in your area you only need the following resources. 

  • A few dedicated volunteers (2-3 to start)

    • The time commitment can be as little as a few hours a month and work around your schedule.

  • A mission statement and description of what you plan to do. (See examples in sidebar.)

  • Decide on a fee structure, typically $30-$50, but can be lower to start.

    • MBC costs $10 per member to a maximum of $2500.

  • Create an Excel sheet or database to collect members’ names, contact information, payment status

  • Start a Facebook group for members

 

How do we start building membership?

  • Pick a date and time for your first meet and greet and start getting the word out. This event can be in person or online.

  • MBC’s Director of Membership can tell you how many existing members of MBC already live in your area and help you contact them directly about joining.

  • Promote your first event on social media in local parenting groups and encourage people to share on their personal page or directly with friends. MBC can help you with social media messages.

 

What events should our Chapter organize?

Events are fundamental to the operations of a Chapter. You can organize a mix of in-person and online events to satisfy the needs of different members. These events do not have to be complicated. Some of the simplest events can have the greatest following and impact.

Most Chapters have the following events:

  • Monthly social get-togethers for parents. These are usually casual and held at a member’s home or at a coffee shop or restaurant. They are sometimes called MOMs nights or POMs socials.

  • Clothing & gear sales – Chapters nationwide are renowned for their consignment sales. Typically held twice a year, these sales are an opportunity for members to purge their used baby and kids’ wear and gear and purchase for the next season. These sales are normally open to the public after member shopping hours. They serve as an energizing volunteer event, money saver for families and a great promotion of your Chapter.

  • Prenatal Course or Expectant Parents Nights (See section on attracting new members.)

  • Playdates – get together at an indoor or outdoor playground

  • Large scale events such as a Christmas/Holiday party, Halloween Party or Pumpkin Patch, Picnic or Fun Fair

  • Volunteer Appreciation Event – a group activity and/or dinner out

  • National Multiple Births Awareness Day - Help celebrate on May 28th (may be celebrated on the weekend closest to the date). Plan a party, cut a cake, work it into another activity. MBC helps to promote a theme each year.

 

Other event ideas:

  • Dads’ nights

  • Camping trip

  • Local attraction, performance or sporting event 

  • Parents’ night out (dinner, bowling, archery, escape room, etc.)

  • Parenting Workshops: potty training, sleep training, parenting advice, talk on education, financial advice, twin psychology, car seat safety

  • Scavenger hunt

  • Sing-a-long

  • Online photo contest

 

Many Chapters run fundraisers throughout the year. Here are some ideas for fundraisers.

  • Pub Night - Have a live/silent auction. Sell tickets to family and friends and everyone gets a night out at the same time. 

  • Raffles/Silent Auctions - Online or in-person at your sale/events. 50/50, high ticket item, gift certificate or and experience. Make sure to check with your local bylaws and provincial gaming licensing (this varies from province to province).

  • Family Photo Session - Collaborate with a member that is a photographer to see if they willing to donate their time or to give a kickback for the Chapter.

  • Wine Survivor: Participants pay $20 to participate and a bottle of wine. Game gets played “Survivor Style”. People are voted out, alliances are made. Your Chapter keeps the participation fee and the winner makes out with all of the wine.

  • Applebees Pancake Breakfast - Contact your local Applebees (or other restaurants who do something similar e.g.: Boston Pizza). The Chapter sells tickets priced as they choose. A base price gets paid to Applebees. The restaurant takes care of the venue and all of the cooking/dishes. Your volunteers are the servers and are responsible for bussing tables.

  • Purdy’s chocolates

  • Little Caesar’s pizza

  • Magic Show

What other benefits and services can we offer our members?

  • Discount list at local retailers

  • Send an informative and fun newsletter or online blog

  • Mentorship/partnership programs: match a new member with an experienced member for direct support

  • Connect with support groups run by MBC: breastfeeding, special needs, infant loss, LGBTQ+, francophone, premature births, single parents, dads, triplets quads or quints, postpartum depression/anxiety, adult multiples.

 

How should we govern our Chapter?

  • Chapters typically each have their own set of By-Laws, which outline the rules adopted by the organization mainly for the government of its members and the management of its affairs. (See links to examples of Chapters’ By-Laws in sidebar.)

  • Your Chapter’s By-Laws will include a structure for your volunteer positions for your Board of Directors or Chapter Executive. o

    • Typically, you will have a core of 3 to 10 voting officers of your Board or Executive consisting of a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Past President, etc.

    • Chapters also have volunteers that manage specific functions or committees of the organization. This will vary depending on the structure, size and needs of your Chapter. Many Chapters have a Director of Membership, Sales/Events/Social, Communications/Public Relations. 

    • Each Chapter should appoint an MBC Ambassador to relay information and ideas to and from MBC.

    • (See links to examples of Volunteer Role Descriptions in sidebar.)

  • The Board of Directors/Chapter Executive should plan to meet in person or virtually every 1-2 months at minimum to discuss plans, brainstorm, and problem-solve as needed. At the end of the fiscal year (determined in the By-Laws), the Chapter shall hold an Annual General Meeting in which the activities of the Chapter from the year shall be reviewed and elections will be held for the officers and other volunteer positions for the upcoming fiscal year. The voting process will follow the guidelines in the By-Laws.

How should we manage our Chapter’s financials?

  • Each Chapter will need a bank account. Many Canadian banks offer special account types for not-for-profits (NFP) that reduce or eliminate some fees. You will typically require at least 2 different signatories from your officers for security purposes.

  • Each Chapter should keep track of its revenues and expenditures by utilizing a spreadsheet or software.

    • A simple Excel spreadsheet can be used to keep a journal of all your bookkeeping.

    • Another option is to use bookkeeping software such as Quickbooks.

    • Some Chapters use a membership management software, which organizes members’ contact information, communication with members via email or social media and keeps records of payment for membership initiation and renewals as well as for events or other paid activities.

      • Membership management software often integrate with a third-party application to process online payments.

      • Examples of membership management software are Wild Apricot, (currently used by Toronto, Ottawa, Durham and Calgary Chapters)

  • Officers and volunteers should submit expense reports to receive reimbursement for chapter-related expenses, for example: event space rental fees, food, website fees, promotional expenses, etc.

  • A Chapter can earn several types of revenue including: membership dues, event registration fees, fundraising, clothing sale proceeds, etc.

  • A Chapter may choose to incorporate as a not-for-profit in accordance with the province that they are located. Depending on the laws in your province, you may be exempt or required to submit financial reports. Please see the links for information for your province.

    • Depending on your sources of revenue, you may need to collect and remit provincial sales taxes and/or you may qualify for a provincial sales tax refund.

How should we manage our Chapter’s membership data? 

  • A membership is typically shared by a core family unit and held by the parents or guardians of the multiple birth family.

    • Some Chapters may include membership types for adult multiples, grandparents or other relatives of multiple birth families.

    • Discounts are sometimes offered to single parents.

  • Each Chapter should keep a database of all members’ information including contact information including: first and last names of parents, e-mail address(es), mailing address including postal code, and phone number. Other details may be collected including names and date(s) of birth of children (multiple births and siblings), social media nicknames, interest in volunteering etc.

  • Membership list should also keep track of the member’s interest in support groups (link to list of support groups)

  • Membership dues should be decided and agreed upon by the Board/Executive. They typically range from $30-$55 annually. For each member, a log of membership due payments should be kept including renewal dates and number of years paid.

    • You can use Excel or a database software such as MySQL or Microsoft SQL.

    • Membership management software includes this database and can link it to your payment portal, email and other functions. (See previous section.)

    • A web portal is also available for chapter to manage your membership through MBC

  • In order to activate a membership, membership fees should be collected and recorded.

    • Some Chapters renew membership once a year on the fiscal year end date and prorate the first year. Some Chapters renew membership on the anniversary of the initial payment.

      • Reminder e-mails will be necessary to ensure that members renew their dues in time.

  • Discounts on membership fees may be offered per the By-Laws and discretion of the Board or Executive.

    • Consider offering discounts on membership fees for renewing for more than one year at a time.

    • You may choose to discount or reimburse volunteers for part of their membership fees.

    • Some Chapters offer discounts for referrals of new members or offer membership fee discounts as incentives occasionally.

    • Many Chapters offer complimentary memberships to families that demonstrate financial need.

    • Many Chapters also offer complimentary membership to “Lifetime” members that have paid their dues for a minimum number of years (around 7 to 10 years).

  • Submissions to MBC – In order to ensure your members receive access to MBC Facebook support groups and resources, Chapters should submit their membership lists to MBC on a regular basis. In turn, Multiple Births Canada will issue invoices to the chapter for active member ($10.00 per year). The fee will coincide with the Chapters membership fees and renewal plan (Annual and prorated or monthly with anniversary date.​

How do we attract new members?

Most new members will join when they are expecting their babies or within the first year or two after they are born. It is key to target this demographic.

  • Set up a website that gives at least a general overview of what supports your Chapter offers and how to get in contact. You may also include a calendar of events and a fillable membership application form.

    • Some membership management software such as Wild Apricot and StarChapter, include a website page builder or you can create a simple page using a web development software such as Wordpress or Wix.

    • MBC will provide a page for each Chapter on the multiplebirths.ca website, so that no costs need to be incurred by Chapters looking for a simple page.

  • Many Chapters offer a prenatal information session or course either independently or in conjunction with the local hospital. This can be presented in the format of a panel of parents and is an opportunity to tell prospective members about the positive impact of being part of a chapter.

  • Use social media to promote your Chapter.

    • In addition to a private Facebook members’ group, you can start a public Facebook page to share content and promote your club. The occasional paid boost for a post can have a significant reach.

    • Instagram and Twitter are also great tools to promote your Chapter and you may want a volunteer or two just for social media posts.

    • As a new generation of parents enter the POM community, consider expanding into newer social media platforms such as TikTok, Clubhouse and Discord.

  • Word of mouth will be your most powerful tool. Encourage your members to tell others about your Chapter and the positive impact that it’s had on their life. Ask them to share social media posts in other groups or on their personal accounts and forward invitations to prenatal and new parents’ events with expectant or new parents of twins or more. Offering a referral program provides even more incentive.

Reference


“…It takes a village. In the case of Parents of Multiples [POMs] that village will be your local chapter.”

Add the MBC logo and link to your website with the logo kit.

Mission Statement Example #1


To promote and improve the health and well-being of expectant and multiple birth families in and around the [location] area by offering active and ongoing support.

Mission Statement Example #2


Provide support and resources to families of multiples in [location] and surrounding areas.

Volunteer Role Descriptions
Example 1

Volunteer Role Descriptions

Example 2

The secret recipe to a successful Chapter is to have an inclusive, supportive community led by a team of motivated and passionate volunteers. Keep your calendar of events constantly flowing and your connections to members continuous.

 

Your Chapter has the potential to touch the lives of many multiple birth families and have a positive ripple effect for years to come.